Frequently Asked Questions from Our Patients

The following are questions that we have heard frequently from our patients at Atlantic Physical Therapy. We have tried to provide some simple answers for you, but if you need more information or clarification on any topic, we encourage you to discuss it with your care team.

Who are the people I will be working with when I come to Atlantic Physical Therapy?

At Atlantic Physical Therapy, we work within a team concept to make sure that your care is personalized and closely supervised. Out team members include the following:

Physical Therapists (PTs)- our Physical Therapists have post-baccalaureate degrees in Physical Therapy at either the Master’s or Doctoral level and are licensed in Virginia to evaluate your condition and provide physical therapy treatments. In addition, we have PT’s with advanced board certifications as specialists in orthopedics and sports physical therapy as well as certifications in golf fitness and movement disorders.

Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs)- our Physical Therapist Assistants work closely with our Physical Therapists and are trained in all aspects of physical therapy treatment. They are licensed to provide treatment following the initial assessment by our Physical therapists

Physical Therapy Aides/Exercise Specialists- each of our PTs and PTAs is teamed with a PT Aide/Exercise Specialist to assist in your care, particularly in your exercise strategies. These individuals typically have college degrees in fields related to Physical Therapy, and many are also using their experience to prepare for advanced degrees in health care.

Will I be working with the same people each time?

At Atlantic Physical Therapy, we have found consistency leads to the best results. We recommend that you schedule appointments with the same PT or PTA for your care. We realize that many patients need specific times for their appointments, and if your primary care team is not available when you want to come in, another care team will cover, following your established treatment plan. You will get the same level of caring and dedication from all those who represent Atlantic Physical Therapy.

Can my Physical Therapist diagnose my condition?

Yes, our Physical Therapists diagnose and manage movement dysfunction (trouble moving properly or without pain). The PT evaluation will determine the severity, location, cause, and prognosis of your condition. When necessary, your PT may also refer you on for diagnostic testing or evaluation by another health care specialist.

I hurt myself yesterday; can I see a physical therapist first?

Yes, the laws governing Physical Therapy have expanded to allow you to see a physical therapist first without a physician’s referral. (SEE DIRECT ACCESS) We are also able to provide physical therapy if needed for up to 30 days. If at that point we feel further care would be beneficial, we will work with a physician of your choice to extend your physical therapy.

How do I know if physical therapy will work?

Our evaluation will help us give you a clearer picture of what we think should help to address your needs. When we start physical therapy, it often takes a couple of weeks for you to notice less pain and better movement in your daily life. We will continue to monitor your progress and adjust if needed. If you are not experiencing improvement, we will work with you to outline other options that can be explored to help you.

Can I make back-to-back visits?

In general, it is a good idea to schedule visits with a day in between so your body has time to rest, particularly when you are focused on rebuilding strength. There are other cases, such as right after surgery or when there is a risk of your joints becoming too stiff, that we recommend more frequent sessions, including back to back days.

What should I do if I must cancel my appointment?

We realize that there are times when you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment. Please call us and let us know, preferably the day before your appointment so that we can rebook you a new appointment and offer that time to another patient who may be waiting to get in.

What if I get stuck in traffic or am running late?

If circumstances throw off your schedule and it appears that you will miss your scheduled time, please call us as soon as possible to let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you. Of course, if you are driving we understand you cannot call until it is safe to do so.

I am having to get rides to Physical Therapy. When can I drive?

If you are taking pain medication to manage your pain, you should not drive a motor vehicle. When you have had surgery, you should check with your surgeon to see when you are safe to drive. A general rule is that if you are in a sling, wearing a knee brace, wearing a cam boot on your right foot, or using crutches or a walker, it is safer to let someone drive you to PT.

What should I do between my Physical Therapy appointments?

There is no easy answer to this question because each situation is different, but we will discuss the things that we think you should do at home to help you feel better and heal faster. We will often give you a few simple exercises (home exercise program) that are similar to the supervised exercises you have done with us.

What happens when I am finished with my Physical Therapy at Atlantic PT?

It is very rewarding for us to see you feeling better and returning to activities that you enjoy. When you finish your PT with us, we will make sure your home exercise program has been reviewed and updated. In addition, we will go over what things to do and not to do in your daily life. If you belong to a fitness facility or gym, we would be happy to work with the gym staff to make sure your ongoing fitness program will be safe. We can also offer you the opportunity to return to Atlantic PT after a few weeks to see how you are doing on your own and make sure you are on the right track.